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Revitalizing Northeast Winston-Salem

Here are the upcoming projects to transform the community.

WStoday: 12th street near Brown School Lofts

The Housing Authority of Winston-Salem provides vouchers to assist low-income families in purchasing or renting a home.

Photo by WStoday

The Northeast Ward of Winston-Salem is set to be transformed. The latest project will build new homes along 14th Street, near Hattie Avenue and Bramblebrook Lane is part of the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative.

City Editor Kellina spoke with Council Member Barbara Burke to learn about the redevelopment happening in her ward.

A strong foundation

“I call it East of Cleveland [...] because the Cleveland Avenue Homes is west of Cleveland Avenue,” Burke said. “That area has such rich history...a legacy exists in that location.”

The 14th Street area was home to many prominent Black Winston-Salemites, including Winston-Salem’s first Black pharmacist, Dr. Rufus Hairston. George Black, a brickmaker whose work can be found throughout the city — like sidewalks in Old Salem — also called the area home.

Other prominent figures who lived in the same community include one of the owners of the Safe Bus Company, the largest Black-owned and operated transportation business in the world. (Fun fact: the city purchased assets of the company and used it to help build our current transit system.)

Burke says she’s working on revitalizing the neighborhood to revive a sense of pride in the community, while preserving its historical roots.

“You want the kids that grew up there to be like, ‘hey, yes. I can do this’,” Burke said.

Timing is everything

Amid rapid housing development in Winston-Salem, the city is working to keep up with demand for affordable housing. One solution leaders have come up with is by selling vacant lots.

“The city has a lot of vacant properties. It extends all the way to 25th Street and down to the whole area from 14th, Cleveland [Avenue], 25th — all of the streets in between,” Burke said.

The price for the properties? $1. This is no mistake. The city is strategically selling these empty lots to attract developers to invest in underserved areas like the Northeast Ward.

Fostering a sense of pride

Burke said she is focused on efforts to transform the Northeast to the thriving community it once was.

“These homes were beautiful. This was a prideful community,” Burke said. “It has had no investment in years. We’re trying to bring it back to where it once was.”

In addition to new housing eventually coming, the city is also working to help current homeowners. It’s awarding up to $20,000 in grants to qualifying homeowners in the area to improve the exterior appearance of their homes.

“It can be a new roof. It can be painting. It can be a fence,” Burke said. “So that it is a community where the residents will be proud to live.”

A few other projects Burke is working on include enhancing Harambee Park + building a Community Transformational Center. That’s where residents can take classes like financial literacy + building generational wealth.